Large river systems originating in high mountains often form an important and reliable water source for downstream located arid regions. How fast and to what extend these rivers are impacted by climate change due to retreating glaciers and associated decreases of meltwater will depend on the amount of base flow contributing to river discharge. Remote sensing, isotope geochemistry and hydrological modelling will be used to understand and quantify the relevant groundwater-surface water interaction processes at catchment scale.
Our investigations on the groundwater-surface water interaction in large mountain catchments focus on the Gunt River in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan. The study is part of the BMBF funded project PAMIR in collaboration with the Catchment Hydrology and Hydrogeology at UFZ, Halle (Saale), the Remote Sensing Group at the Technical University and Mining Academy, Freiberg, and the Tajik Hydro-Meteorological Agency, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.